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ISGM Podcast: The Concert #12 - Bach’s Keyboard

Bach was a talented keyboard player, performing as an organist in many of his church jobs and playing many other keyboard instruments at concerts and social gatherings. He was quite interested in new developments in keyboard instrument-making, and the birth of the two-manual harpsichord was possibly the inspiration for his Italian Concerto. In the Italian Concerto, Bach simulates the exchanges between solo instruments and the full orchestra using the new double-manual harpsichord. The result, for the harpsichord player, and the listener, is an incredibly complex piece. Particularly in the final movement, you may need to remind yourself that you’re listening to only one person playing only one instrument! Violinist Corey Cerovsek and harpsichordist John Gibbons play Bach’s Sonata for violin and keyboard No. 4 in C minor, BWV 1017 and Italian Concerto for harpsichord, BWV 971.

Recorded live in the Tapestry Room of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is pleased to share this concert under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License. For details see


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